Price and Rinne went toe to toe in a goalie duel that could resurface at the Sochi Olympics, but it was late heroics by Seth Jones that will be most memorable from this game. Jones played 27:29 minutes this evening, second to only Shea Weber for time on ice. But Jones really shined with a minute and a half left where he took a pass from Legwand, pinched into the middle, did a dirty little toe drag and fired a puck over Price's right shoulder. The Game Winning Goal created ripples across social media, including many analysts rashly awarding Nashville the first place prize in the draft (it's still early folks).
Weber had the other Preds goal, which he got after a scramble on the powerplay. Nashville fired 37 shots at Price, an unseen offensive effort that, along with significant bouts of pressure and a very successful penalty kill, lead to their first road win of the season.
With the Preds' win, they move to 4-3-1 and play tomorrow night in Winnipeg, a game that could see Carter Hutton take the net.
1. Power Play bad, Penalty Kill good: It was a parade to the penalty box tonight, with 11 powerplays between the two sides. Nashville went 1/6 on the night, the only goal by Weber came just as a 5 on 3 power play ended. The remaining powerplays involved a lack of setup and an unwillingness to pull the trigger. Luckily it was more of the same for the Canadiens, who were 0 for 5 and had a very difficult time getting setup in the zone. The chances they did have were well shut down by Rinne.
2. Disallowed Goal saves the Preds: A minute and a half into the 3rd, as Montreal was really picking up steam, a flurry in front of the net lead to Pekka Rinne falling back into his own net while making a save with his blocker side arm. The Reff on the ice threw his hand up and then violently gestured for a goal. Rinne protested; it didn't look in. The Reffs confered at the middle of the ice and then went upstairs before ruling it no goal – which in my biased opinion was the right call. However the video did not prove, without a doubt, that it didn't cross the line, which it would need to as the call on the ice was for a goal. Here was the official rulling from the NHL:
At 1:35 of the third period in the Predators/Canadiens game, the official located behind the goal line signaled goal. After the referee's huddled, they determined that Lars Eller's shot did not cross the goal line. Video review was inconclusive in determining whether or not the shot crossed the goal line, therefore the referee's group decision that the puck did not completely cross the goal line stands. No goal Montreal
3. Goaltending Showdown: Rinne and Price both played exceptionally well tonight. The first goal on each was a bit unlucky. The Canadiens goal was resulting from a scramble while Weber's goal on Price took a wicked redirection. Rinne played, I think, his best game of the season, making some key saves. Price turned away 35 shots, so you absolutely can't blame him. While Pekka is a likely shoe in for team Finland, Price may have to work for a team Canada position, but the two could absolutely end up meeting in Sochi.
4. Shots Shots Shots: 37 shots tonight for Nashville, and 30 shots per game in 5 consecutive games now (37, 35, 30, 31, 36). It's nice to see Nashville putting some rubber on net, but you need to wonder if it's of the quality needed to make a difference. This game and the games against LA and Toronto specifically, it seems like an overwhelming amount of shots are not quality and are easily gobbled up by talented netminders. But still, the momentum tonight, arguably generated by shooting attempts, was a contributing factor to the win.
5. Seth Jones: What a goal by Jones. Just phenomenal. The 19 year old defenseman is really turning heads around the league. He and Weber are becoming one of the best pairing in the NHL and Weber is clearly a positive mentor to the rookie. This could be the first Calder Nominee in Preds history (didn't look this up – not sure we've had others?)
BONUS THOUGHT: Mike Fisher Injury – it was announced mid day that Fisher would be a game time decision – and it turned out that the decision was no. Trotz announced that Fisher would be day to day with a shoulder injury. Spaling took his place but was very unnoticeable in his 12 minutes of ice time. I would expect Fisher to be out again against Winnipeg, but probably not for much longer after that.
1-0 NSH: Shea Weber – Legwand and Fisher at 12:31 in the 1st
1-1 MTL: Brendan Gallagher – Bournival, Eller at 7:02 in the 2nd
2-1 NSH: Jones, Legwand, Wilson 18:33 in the 3rd
NSH: Pekka Rinne (W) – 28 saves on 29 shots (.966); 60:00
MTL: Carey Price(L) – 35 saves on 37 shots (.946); 60:00
My Three Stars
1. Seath Jones: 1 goal, 27:29 TOI
2. David Legwand: 2 (primary) Assists
3. Carey Price: 35 saves
Line Up Report
Predators scratches: Fisher, Clune
Predators starters: Hendricks, Gaustad, Nystrom, Ekholm, Klein and Rinne
Canadiens scratches: Max Pacioretty, Nathan Beaulieu
Canadiens starters: Galchenyuk, Eller, Gallagher, Markov, Subban, Price